After starting the season 0–5, the Boston University men’s basketball team extended its winning streak to two games after defeating St. Peter’s University, 74–66.
The 0–5 start is not yet behind BU coach Joe Jones and the rest of the Terrier team, but the valuable experience it provided is definitely not forgotten.
“You talk about a team that returned only four guys with any experience — no one else has any experience on this level,” Jones said. “No matter who these guys are, unless you’re Kentucky, you are going to struggle. Anybody else that plays the schedule we play with inexperienced guys like us it’s going to be hard.”
The Terriers (2–5) finally got their first win of the season against Coastal Carolina University, blowing out the Chanticleers 70–40. BU looked to build upon that when they traveled to Jersey City, New Jersey, to play St. Peter’s (3–4) on Saturday.
BU was clearly the squad ready to play and got out to a quick lead against the Peacocks (3–4). Thanks to a few early misses by St. Peter’s and strong all-around play from BU, the Terriers found themselves ahead 13–4 only 5:28 into the game.
Midway through the first half the BU open shots that were not sinking a week earlier at George Mason University began falling for the Terriers. On offense, BU began hitting shot after shot, while defensively the Terriers held St. Peter’s scoreless for more than five minutes. At 4:40 in the first half, BU had a substantial 30–7 lead over St. Peter’s.
The half ended with St. Peters crawling back into the game, but BU still held a strong 18-point lead, 37–19.
“Our intensity on both ends was great,” Jones said. “I thought we did a great job with the game plan early in the game. We were on the top of our game. Each game we have gotten a little bit better, and I thought that half was the best basketball from top to bottom so far.”
Coming out of the locker room at halftime, St. Peter’s looked like a completely different team and outplayed the Terriers.
“We are up 30–8 in the first half, 18 at halftime and then they came out and took it to us — we didn’t play well with the lead,” Jones said. “It was the first time we had had a lead like that on the road and I thought they came out, played harder and that really hurt us and screwed us up.”
Aside from the Peacocks making shots, the Terriers turned the ball over quite a few times, allowing St. Peter’s to get back into the game. After a 3-pointer from St. Peter’s guard Desi Washington at 7:43, the Terriers large lead was down to only two.
The BU intensity picked up again late in the second half with clutch 3-point shooting from junior guard Travis Robinson and freshman guard John Papale. BU would coast from there and defeat the Peacocks 74–66.
“We made some big shots late and I thought that was a huge difference in the game,” Jones said. “Overall I thought we did a great job of playing our game on both ends. That was probably the think I was most pleased with.”
The star of the game was freshman guard Maurice Watson Jr. who, for the second game in a row, controlled the pace of the game and led the Terriers in scoring and assists. Watson put up 21 points while tallying seven assists getting his teammates involved.
“Mo (Watson) had a spectacular game, but we got contributions from a lot of different players,” said Jones.
Watson Jr. was named America East Rookie of the Week for his performance in the victory.
In his past two games, the 5-foot-10 freshman has totaled 18 points-per game, five assists per game and 2.5 steals per game. It is the first time a BU freshman has earned the award since 2010–11.
Robinson had 15 points for the Terriers, going 5-for-6 from beyond the arc, while Papale also added 11. Washington led the Peacocks in scoring with 32 points.
In their next game, the Terriers will visit Coastal Carolina for the second match of the season against the Chanticleers. Jones said he recognizes that this will not be the same game as a week ago.
“It’s going to be an absolute war,” Jones said.